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Mastermind 2013 Honorable Mention: Kyle Trowbridge

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Miami New Times' Mastermind Awards honors the city's most inspiring creatives. This year, we received more than 100 submissions, which our staff narrowed to an elite group of 30. We'll be profiling those honorable mentions, and eventually the finalists, in the weeks to come. This year's three Mastermind Award winners will be announced February 28 at Artopia, our annual soiree celebrating Miami culture. For tickets and more information, visit the website.

Despite what Good Will Huntingmay have led us to believe, college can be a less than inspiring place. But if we'd all studied under Professor Kyle Trowbridge, a working artist and ex-skateboarder with an on-campus studio at the University of Miami, maybe there'd be more Picassos and fewer cube dwellers.

A native Floridian, Trowbridge almost expatriated to Cali after an undergraduate stint at San Diego State University. Lucky for Miami's art scene, he made his way back and posted up permanently at UM, first as a grad student, now as a professor.

His work, particularly in recent years, turns a trenchant eye on our modern dependency on technology, and how it affects interpersonal relationships. He describes his pieces as "wolf in sheep's clothing." What you see isn't always what you get.

Recently, he's been exploring the use of QR codes. Many of his paintings serve as fully functional versions of the technological phenomenon, but they're not what they appear.

"It may look like a beautiful, unassuming geometric abstraction, then you scan it and it tells you to fuck off. The message may not necessarily sync up with the image," he says.

While he uses technology, he doesn't like it. "All these things are promised to us via technology -- speed and global connection. I'm a simple man. If I'm gaining something I have to be losing something. The question is, what are we losing?" he speculates. "Up front, what I'm already noticing is social retardation. People are afraid of confrontation, they'd rather shoot off a text or call rather than talk to somebody."

Locally, Trowbridge's work is on display at the Dorsch Gallery, and he currently has a solo exhibition entitled The Politics of Time.

Cultist: In first grade, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Trowbridge: A soldier of fortune or a Pittsburgh Steeler.

Favorite thing about Miami's art scene?

Is this a trick question? The art, I would imagine.

Least favorite thing about Miami's art scene?

Food trucks.

Name your three favorite dead artists.

This is way too hard to limit to a total of three, but,

1. Balthus, just creepy brilliant.

2. James Ensor, another nut job.

3. Ad Reinhardt, closed the door behind him.

Favorite local artist?

Manny Prieres

2013 Mastermind Award Honorable Mentions:

Kevin Arrow

Pioneer Winter

The Overthrow

The Gutter Film Series

Daniel Reskin

Manny Prieres

Nate Delinois

Reed van Brunschot

Bookleggers Public Library

Ruben Ubiera

I'm Not Gonna Move To LA

Magnus Sigurdarson

Autumn Casey

Andrew "Zig" Leipzig

Brookhart Jonquil

JeanPaul Mallozzi

Kyle Trowbridge

Follow Cultist on Facebook and Twitter @CultistMiami.

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